INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The city of Cleveland will open its doors to the sports world this week when the Cavaliers raise their 2016 championship banner Tuesday on the same night the Indians host Game 1 of World Series.
LeBron James, born about 40 miles south of Gateway Plaza where Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena are located across from one another downtown, said it will be a spectacle unlike any his hometown has ever seen.
"It's a special day for our fans in Cleveland, in Northeast Ohio to be able to live and enjoy for a day," James said after practice Monday. "They get an opportunity to just remember this day, us receiving our rings and our Indians being able to host Game 1 of the World Series, so, it's a day that will go down in history. For anyone that lives here, they will never forget it. So, I'm happy I'm a part of it."
The Cavs will play the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET, moving their tipoff time up a half hour to accommodate Cleveland fans that want to watch the pregame ring ceremony and still catch the first pitch between the Indians and Chicago Cubs at 8:08 p.m. ET.
James, a known New York Yankees fan, explained how he maintains an allegiance to both the Bronx Bombers and one of their American League rivals in the Indians.
"I'm a supporter of winners, man," James said. "As a kid, I've told you guys long before this day, when I was a kid growing up I needed inspiration to get out of the situation I was in. So, I loved the (Chicago) Bulls, I loved the (Dallas) Cowboys, I loved the Yankees. Those are winning franchises. Those are people that I liked because they gave me hope of being a winner. So, that's part of the reason why I've always loved those teams. But I'm definitely in support of what the Indians are doing right now."
So much so that he has committed to making a wager with Chicago-native Dwyane Wade over the series outcome, only he hasn't quite ironed out the details of the bet.
"I don't know," James said. "We're both wine drinkers, so it will probably go to that. He has his own wine too, so, we'll probably figure that in or I don't know, we both have kids. So we'll figure something out."
The rest of the Cavs are trying to figure out how they will manage their emotions as they celebrate their historic 3-1 comeback against the Golden State Warriors and then immediately try to focus on beating the Knicks.
"Like I told some of the guys already, I might cry, but we still have a game to play," said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. "I might cry, it's going to be emotional, and rightfully so. We've done something that no other team has done in NBA history, we brought a championship to the city of Cleveland, so it's going to be an emotional night and we expect that. Guys should embrace that. We still have a game to play. If guys that won a championship, they can't handle it, then I'll play guys that didn't win: (Mike) Dunleavy Jr. and guys that are hungry and trying to win another one."
James, who was 2-0 on ring night during his time with the Miami Heat, has experience with the balancing act.
"It's unfortunate that you have to go right from reliving all your accomplishments from the previous year to getting ready to, now, let's start to play the game right away," James said. "So, it's very difficult, it's very challenging but it's what it is and we have to be ready."
Should the Indians beat the Cubs, Cleveland would become just the second city to win both the NBA and MLB championships in the same calendar year, joining Los Angeles which did it in 1988 (Lakers and Dodgers) and 2002 (Lakers and Angels).
"This is a unique time," James said. "You got one team like you said that (last won a championship) in 1948 and another one in (1908), this is a unique time, especially for the MLB and just for sports period. It's great to have those two teams. Those fans and all Cubs fans, obviously they got two (baseball) teams (in Chicago), but Cubs fans and Indians fans deserve it, and, may the best ball club win."